SSI Summit Shares Best Managed Services Practices

The first-ever SSI Summit earned rave reviews from attendees as precious time well spent. Check out some key takeaways from the “Best Practices” roundtable sessions.

The reviews are in, and they are positively glowing! I had the distinct pleasure of being the publication lead for Security Sales & Integration‘s first-ever dedicated industry event, the SSI Summit. Held at Atlanta’s Omni Hotel Nov. 2-4, the conference gathered 75 top dealer and integrator company leaders for three days of educational sessions, roundtable discussions, boardroom-style presentations, vendor meetings in the exhibit hall and networking opportunities.

As undeniably terrific as it was to assemble such a fine group from the SSI community, by far the most gratifying aspect to me was speaking with participants who universally praised the Summit for its uniqueness, professionalism and high value.

IMAGE GALLERY: Sights From the 2016 SSI Summit

The affair was colocated with the CE Pro Summit and Commercial Integrator Summit, and collectively organized by AE Ventures as the Total Tech Summit with attendees also being able to connect with executives in those adjacent specialties. CE Pro, which serves the custom home electronics installer, and Commercial Integrator, whose audience is comprised of pro A/V-oriented firms, are EH Media sister publications to SSI. The more than 305 integrator guests represented $5.38 billion in annual revenues and 339,000 installations.

One of the very special facets of the Summit format are the “Best Practices” roundtable sessions in which experts on the given topic share their knowledge, wisdom and advice from the stage before the focus is turned over to the attendees, who are divided up into groups and given time to collaborate on a solution to an assigned challenge. The process stimulated many great ideas and several people told me the experience was especially memorable and beneficial for them. Following is a taste of what came out of one of those brainstorming efforts.

The Total Tech Summit reflects the increasing connectivity at both the technical and business level across A/V, control and security. Each year the event offers a unique opportunity for security, custom and commercial integrators to connect, engage and explore adjacent markets.

Joined by Select Security’s Pat Egan (an SSI Industry Hall of Famer), Jon Perry of Sting Alarm and Security Partners’ Andy Stadler, I moderated the “Best Practices in Video and Access Control as a Service” roundtable. The three VSaaS and ACaaS challenges and responses (paraphrased below) tackled sales, vertical markets and marketing.

Explain how to change the mindset of salespeople to embrace selling recurring revenue services rather than project-based sales, and how to best recruit new salespeople.
Change the mindset by changing their compensation plans. Pay bigger commissions on RMR and explain whenever they sell RMR they build their book of business. Also pay their commissions monthly to make them feel like a partner in your business. Incentivize them to keep them from resting on their laurels by raising their base and goals. And set it up so those managed services are easy for them to sell. As far as recruiting, take a grassroots approach and find people, such as bright kids out of school, who are self-starters with the right attitude. Also look to other RMR-focused industries to pull talent.

Identify three vertical markets to target with an ACaaS, VSaaS and blend of the two offerings.
For ACaaS: healthcare, as most hospitals also have satellite sites as well, health clubs and daycare centers. For VSaaS: construction sites to prevent copper and other theft with voice-down capability, and property management to view variety of sites with minimal equipment investment. For access/video combination: utilities to prevent terrorism and save resources, car dealerships to deter theft and vandalism as well as assist operations, and multitenant properties with virtual lobby, remote doorman and other services.

Offer marketing initiatives to build awareness and stimulate sales among your existing client base of an ACaaS and/or VSaaS offering.
Present customers compelling ROI scenarios and data to demonstrate tangible value like better efficiencies and cost reductions. Set them up with trials to see the benefits for themselves. Get the word out through blogs, social media and your salespeople. Host lunch-and-learns to educate customers about managed services. Identify those who may be maxing out system capacities and offer to alleviate that burden. Tout VSaaS’ ability to prevent crime rather than just provide forensic video. Leverage ACaaS and VSaaS to monitor clients’ network health against cyber threats and other issues.

Now there are some nifty ideas to take into the new year. Company executives or managers interested in attending the 2017 SSI Summit, set for Nov. 1-3 in Orlando, Fla., can contact AE Ventures’ Ben McGuire ([email protected]) for more on becoming a hosted guest. For more info on sponsoring as a manufacturer, contact Ashley Silva ([email protected]). Happy holidays to all.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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